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COVID-19 WRAP | Fita heads back to court to appeal against ruling that tobacco remains banned

03 July 2020 - 07:17 By TimesLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa with Mpumalanga premier (centre) Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane and health minister Zweli Mkhize (right) during a site visit to assess the province's Covid-19 response on July 3 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa with Mpumalanga premier (centre) Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane and health minister Zweli Mkhize (right) during a site visit to assess the province's Covid-19 response on July 3 2020.
Image: Via Twitter/@CyrilRamaphosa/Presidency

July 3 2020 - 20:52

SA passes 9,000 Covid-19 cases in single day as deaths climb by 108

Gauteng accounted for about half of SA's new Covid-19 infections, as another record high for confirmed cases in a single day was reported on Friday.

The health ministry on Friday said that there were 9,063 new cases of the virus recorded in the past 24 hours — the single biggest increase in infections in a day.

Gauteng accounted for 4,394 of those cases, and now has only about 12,000 fewer cases than the Western Cape, which remains the country's disease epicentre in terms of infections and deaths.

July 3 2020 - 19:40

Dad goes to court after kids suspended from online classes over school fees

A Durban father filed an urgent application on Friday asking the high court to order the Durban North Primary School to allow his two children back into virtual classes after they were suspended for defaulting on school fees.

The grade 4 and 7 pupils were denied access to the school's online classes for children with comorbidities or with high-risk family members.

The school has been holding the online classes for children who are unable to attend school. The classes are a live stream of the actual lessons given by teachers to pupils who are able to physically attend school.  

July 3 2020 - 17:38

Covid-19 relief: UIF changing how it pays out cash after multimillion-rand fraud

The UIF has had to change how it approves payments to companies after a Pretoria man allegedly defrauded it to the tune of R5.7m.

Tshepang Phohole, who works for CSG Resources, allegedly created a profile on behalf of the company on the UIF system and used his personal bank account.

He is alleged to have then pocketed the R5.7m meant for his co-workers — and later went on a spending spree.

July 3 2020 - 17:02

Santaco, Mbalula agree to work together to find solutions for taxi industry

The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) said it will nominate a high-powered delegation to engage transport department director-general Alec Moemi on issues relating to funding for the industry.

Santaco said the discussion with the DG will be about "the conditions and modalities" relating to the proposed relief fund and other outstanding matters that need to be resolved.

The announcement was made on Friday when the ministry of transport and Santaco said they had made a commitment towards finding lasting solutions that are commuter-centred and mutually beneficial to all citizens.

July 3 2020 - 15:53

Fita heads back to court to appeal against ruling that tobacco remains banned

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) on Friday applied for leave to appeal against the ruling by the Pretoria high court that the sale of tobacco products should remain banned during the lockdown.

Last Friday, a full bench of the high court dismissed Fita's application to set aside the regulation banning the sale of tobacco products. The court held that cigarettes were not essential.

“Many products and services were prohibited during the lockdown in so far as they were defined as non-essential. Many industries were restricted as a goal of curbing and managing the pandemic.

July 3 2020 - 15:23

Two more companies make amends for excessive pricing during pandemic

The Competition Tribunal has confirmed two more companies have conceded to increasing prices for items related to Covid-19.

There have now been 20 consent agreements reached since April.

All the agreements relate to the alleged excessive pricing of goods, including sanitisers and face masks, used by consumers in the context of coronavirus.

July 3 2020 - 15:17 

Doctor fears for his life as pandemic heads towards its peak in Gauteng

With the Covid-19 pandemic set to reach its peak in Gauteng soon, a Johannesburg-based doctor says he fears for his and his family's lives.

Dr Sindile Simama, a general practitioner in Soweto, told TimesLIVE that since the start of the lockdown he had been inundated with calls and visits from patients who were worried about contracting Covid-19. Most wanted to test to make sure they were in the clear.

But in the past two weeks, Simama said he had seen a spike in patients testing positive.

July 3 2020 - 14:42

Nigeria's Kano lifts virus lockdown

Authorities in northern Nigeria's biggest city Kano have lifted a three-month lockdown imposed to contain a coronavirus outbreak linked to hundreds of deaths.

State governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje announced the lifting of the curfew in a broadcast, insisting the key trading hub had seen a sharp drop in infections.

"We can beat our chest and say we are winning the case and there is no longer any need for the lockdown," Ganduje said late Thursday.

July 3 2020 - 14:24 

Gauteng Covid-19 cases are nearing 50,000 mark

July 3 2020 - 1:14

WATCH | 'I didn't see myself surviving '- Mlamli Mangcala details Covid-19 battle in ICU

Fans have flooded actor Mlamli Mangcala's social media with prayers and messages of support after The Queen star posted a video of himself on oxygen and speaking on his battle with Covid-19.

The star, who is known for his role as Captain Sthembiso Radebe on the Mzansi Magic drama series, was fighting for his life in ICU for several days and shared the video on his Instagram page on Friday.

July 3 2020 - 12:41

Ramaphosa in Mpumalanga

July 3 2020 - 11:59

Treatment Action Campaign founder Zackie Achmat calls for activism against Covid-19

Zackie Achmat, activist and co-founder of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), has stressed the need for more openness and activism during the Covid-19 crisis in SA.

He was speaking during a webinar on Thursday in which he received the 2018 International Aids Society (IAS) President’s Award.

The award was handed to him, virtually, by outgoing IAS president Prof Linda-Gail Bekker. The event was hosted by the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation.

The Stormers with Western Cape premier Alan Winde at the Brackengate field hospital in Brackenfell to help with some of the work that needs to be done in fight against Covid-19 on July 3 2020.
The Stormers with Western Cape premier Alan Winde at the Brackengate field hospital in Brackenfell to help with some of the work that needs to be done in fight against Covid-19 on July 3 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

Protest against tobacco ban to be held at Union Buildings: here's what you need to know

A group supporting the lifting of the ban on the sale tobacco products, including cigarettes, has organised a “smokers' protest”. 

The group Dear Mr President said it has had enough of the  ban and vowed not to back down until it is lifted.

July 3 2020 - 11:43

Ramaphosa pleased with Mpumalanga's Covid-19 response

President Cyril Ramaphosa praised Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane for the work done in the province to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

July 3 2020 - 11:22

POLL | Applications for UIF Covid-19 relief fund are now closed - how will you manage?

The closure of Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) applications leaves companies and employees with the option to apply for the Reduced Work Time Benefits if staff are still working or companies remain closed.

UIF spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi told TimesLIVE that Ters was a temporary measure to help companies which suffered a loss of income under hard lockdown.

The Reduced Work Time Benefits is applicable to employees who are losing some of their income as a result of reduced work hours and employees who don't have an income due to being temporarily laid off.

July 3 2020 - 11:07

Lockdown ends in Nigeria's Kano, where coronavirus killed hundreds

The Nigerian state of Kano ended its novel coronavirus lockdown on Thursday, the local ministry of health said, months after an outbreak of what was originally called a "mysterious disease" killed hundreds of citizens.

July 3 2020 - 11:06

Lockdown poser for widows ritual

In some African cultures in the southern region, the period June to August is regarded as a cleansing period for widows to remove their mourning clothes.

However, the lockdown regulations which do not permit ceremonies at the moment pose a challenge for people who need to hold such ceremonies to mark the the end of the mourning period.

Cultural experts, however, said they need not worry as long as they keep the ceremonies small.

July 3 2020 - 10:12

UK orders 65 million injection devices from Becton Dickinson for vaccine program

Medical technology company Becton Dickinson and Co said on Friday it received an order from the UK government for 65 million injection devices to support Britain's Covid-19 vaccination program.

The order for 65 million needles and syringes is to be delivered by mid-September, the company said in a statement, adding that it was also working with Britain's National Health Service (NHS) to expand access to diagnostic testing.

The company said in May it was preparing to ramp up manufacturing operations to handle demand for Covid-19 testing kits in the event of a second wave of infections in the fall.

July 3 2020 - 10:11

NHLS axes courier company over Covid-19 test kits found on highway

The services of the courier company responsible for ferrying the Covid-19 test kits that were found on the roadside near East London have been terminated with immediate effect.

In a statement on Thursday, the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) said the actions of the company and its staff were found to be negligent and a risk to human life.

A preliminary investigation was conducted into the incident in which NHLS samples were lost in transit on the N2 highway near Mdantsane, reports HeraldLIVE.

July 3 2020 - 09:38

In quotes | David Makhura on Covid-19 in Gauteng — 'July will be more difficult than June'

Gauteng premier David Makhura has warned residents to remain vigilant and comply with Covid-19 safety measures as the province’s infection rate continues to surge. He was giving an update to members of the province’s command council.

July 3 2020 - 09:25

England to relax quarantine rules for around 50 countries- minister

Quarantine rules for people arriving in England from around 50 countries will be lifted, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Friday.

"There will be a list of 50 plus countries and if you add in the overseas territories, 60 something or other that we will publish later today," he told Sky News.

July 3 2020 - 09:07

Diabetics moved to front of Covid-19 test queue as deaths rocket

Diabetics are the new focus of the Western Cape’s evolving Covid-19 testing strategy.

The 45% mortality rate among diabetics admitted to hospital in the province is almost twice the average.

July 3 2020 - 9:01

Ramaphosa now on his way to Mpumalanga to assess Covid-19 response 

July 3 2020 - 08:38

'Can we stop playing politics with the lives of our kids' Dr Tumi on further reopening of schools

As Covid-19 infections rise in SA rugby team Stormers are lending a helping hand at the Brackengate field hospital in Brackenfell in the Western Cape on July 3 2020.
As Covid-19 infections rise in SA rugby team Stormers are lending a helping hand at the Brackengate field hospital in Brackenfell in the Western Cape on July 3 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

July 3 2020 - 08:35

'Covid-19 is all over us': Mbalula

July 3 2020 - 08:32

Boxing legend Duran leaves hospital after Covid-19 scare

Panamanian Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran was released from hospital Thursday after being treated for coronavirus, the six-time boxing world champion announced via social media.

"Today, with the blessing of God, I returned home after battling the Covid-19 virus. It was a World Championship fight," Duran wrote on his Instagram account.

The message included a video showing him leaving the hospital in a wheelchair and wearing a face mask, as medical personnel around him wave small Panamanian flags.

July 3 2020 - 08:15

‘We live in a reign of terror’: both violence, virus stalk Cape townships

In Cape Town’s townships, where Covid-19 has taken hold, the fear of the gun still reigns supreme.

The killing of an SACP leader and his daughter is the latest in string of brutal slayings - but no one has been arrested.

July 3 2020 - 08:14

40 members of Cape Town battalion test positive for Covid-19 on deployment to Zim border

Forty soldiers have tested positive for the coronavirus in Limpopo, the South African National Defence Force has confirmed. They remain isolated and have not come into contact with broader society.

“Like all other front line workers, SANDF soldiers are exposed to the scourge of Covid-19, more than the average citizen,” the defence department said.

The troops are from an infantry battalion based in Cape Town.

The SANDF said it had ensured that all the necessary precautions were in place and the battalion was under a 14-day quarantine period at their home unit in Cape Town before being transported to Lephalale to augment another battalion in the SANDF’s safeguarding role on the border between SA and Zimbabwe.

July 3 2020 - 07:55

Tribute to 'hard-working, gentle man' who was lost to Covid-19

A whirlwind romance and a 58-year marriage for retired navy warrant officer Dirkie Kotze, 79, and his wife Lenie, 76, ended with his death from Covid-19. 

Though the family was unprepared for his sudden death, they were grateful that the coronavirus had spared him what could have been a long and painful death from prostate cancer.

Kotze’s last words to his family were “thank you” as they sang to him for his birthday.

July 3 2020 - 07:53

'The youngest children should be prioritised': Child development organisation on halting of pre-Grade R

“There is absolutely no reason why early childhood development centres and pre-Grade R schools should not be allowed to open if they are in compliance with the health regulations.”

These are the words of South African Montessori Association spokesperson, Samantha Streak, on the halt of early childhood development centres (ECDCs) and pre-Grade R grades from reopening on Monday.

This week, basic education minister Angie Motshekga updated the directions on the return of school pupils, putting the brakes on ECDCs and pre-Grade R grades reopening.

July 3 2020 - 07:00

Ramaphosa off to Mpumalanga to assess Covid-19 response